Call of Duty – where is the viewership? – In partnership with Stream Hatchet

27 September 2018


This week, in partnership with Stream Hatchet, we took a look at Call of Duty viewership and how it is holding up as an esports title.

Call of Duty is one of the longest standing esport titles. Everyone knows the name as it continues to release one new title each year with developers Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games & Treyarch each taking turns. This year delivers Treyarch’s Call of Duty:Black Ops 4 which recently announced its plans for the 2019 CWL season. Furthermore this is the first Call of Duty to have its very own Battle Royale mode.

When regarding viewership, Call of Duty has never been known for huge numbers, however viewership in the last two years has increased. The increase is small but significant, to compare 2017 to 2018’s Call of Duty World Championship you can see viewership went from 120,000 concurrent viewers to around 150,000. Additionally, hours watched doubled from just over 1.2 million to nearly 2.4 million in 2018.

Why has viewership increased?

The concurrent viewers could have increased for a number of reasons; allow us to speculate on these here:

  • Largest prize pool yet – of course, each year Call of Duty prize pools increase and this year’s was the largest yet. With next year looking to offer $6 million, can we hope to see even more of an increase?
  • CoD Champs stadium – this year MLG went all out with hosting the final event. Production for the event was phenomenal and tops any other previous CoD Championship, this alone is a factor that attracted more viewers.
  • Multiple streams – This year Call of Duty supported a ‘B stream’ which broadcasted smaller matches to their audience.

Why does Call of Duty need to increase viewership?

Call of Duty is easily the largest FPS console esport and with the 2019 season offering up $6 million to fight it out for, the esport needs to increase viewership – but what do they need to do?

  • Increased advertisement – if we have learned anything from last season then the CWL was simply just not advertised enough, therefore not bringing in enough of their core audience.
  • Path to pro – with the recent announcement of ‘Path to pro’ a system which supports the amateur community in building their way up the ladder, this could increase player count and the spectating audience if the amateur side also gets broadcasted.
  • Built-in broadcasting – Call of Duty:WWII tried it last year with their ‘Theatre’ but it simply did not catch on. Call of Duty needs to follow CS:GO on how the live-streamed matches are pinned onto the games homepage. This can convert casual fans into following the esport.

Call of Duty as an esports has always had potential, but this year may be make or break for the competitive side of the ever popular game. With the newest title set for release in early October, only time will tell. 

We are partnered with esports data and analytics company Stream Hatchet for this weekly series. Find out more about the company here